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Plaintiffs in school funding case file brief in Pa. Supreme Court

By David Limm on Sep 22, 2015 03:41 PM

Lawyers for plaintiffs in a case seeking to overturn Pennsylvania's system of funding schools as unconstitutional filed a brief with state Supreme Court on Friday.

The case, brought by several school districts, parents, and groups, was dismissed in April by Commonwealth Court judges, who ruled that school funding -- how much money is spent on education and how it is distributed -- is a matter for the state's legislative and executive branches to decide.

An appeal for the case to be heard in the state's highest court was filed in May by the Public Interest Law Center and Education Law Center, who are representing the plaintiffs.

The brief argues that Pennsylvania's school funding system is broken, making the availability of high-quality public education a "function of community wealth rather than a constitutional guarantee.”

Pennsylvania's constitution ensures a "thorough and efficient system of public education" for all students.

"Students in poor school districts are denied these rights by an irrational, unpredictable school finance scheme that is overly reliant on local property taxes and deprives students of the basic resources they need to meet state academic standards,” said Maura McInerney, an attorney at the Education Law Center of Pennsylvania.

“The legislature claims that as long as it keeps school doors open and lights on, it has met its constitutional obligation and that the courts have no role to play in interpreting the constitution. It is now up to the Supreme Court to address this unconscionable claim. Our state constitution is clear: The court cannot close its doors to the children of Pennsylvania.”


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Comments (10)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 22, 2015 4:17 pm

I hope they win and the Harrisburg Republicans have to go back to their friends and say you have to pay up slackers.

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on September 23, 2015 9:41 am

I have a question which is begging to be answered in "all of this." I discussed it with a republican state legislator just yesterday. One of the few who "gets it." May I ask it to our community?

When the School District of Philadelphia does eventually get more money for its public school children, are they going to restore essential services to children such as reading specialists who actually do teach, school nurses, counselors, librarians, assistant principals, school police, NTA's, classroom assistants, student centered instruction, books for children to take home, smaller class size in K-3 and beyond? Are they going to ensure a strong and viable profession of teaching and learning to serve our children well? Are they going to ensure that every true charter school has enough money to provide the very same services? Are they going to spend a bit of it on charter school oversight and transparency? 

Or are they going to pour it into the black hole of privatization, and thereby undermine our public schools? 

Submitted by PEG D (not verified) on September 23, 2015 9:59 am

Given their track record, I fear your last question is the answer they will come up with for our precious children

Submitted by Daun Kauffman (not verified) on September 23, 2015 12:05 pm


While we work on "Fair Funding": there remains a specific huge opportunity, if a broad base coalition will help push on this tipping point !   It is not just about 'poor schools' either....

click below or search:  "Education Equity:  Failing Funding or Fair Funding?" at LucidWitness . com   Act for justice (equity) for all !



Submitted by Roja (not verified) on November 13, 2016 6:34 am

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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 23, 2017 2:40 am

Yes, I was there that night and it was Costa del Sol like watching rabbits get tortured. Darden didn't know what to say or where to look for support. The deer in the headlights. Glad to see him go for lots of reasons.

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